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Old 09-11-2010
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Default How to prevent mail fraud by buyer

Greetings,

After dealing with eBay and Paypal for the past week, i have finally stressed myself out - just because a dishonest buyer was trying to claim an "item not as described" baseball card. Sorry for my venting, but i thought you guys would want to know this story.

I sold a dual autograph card for $142.50 to a guy named ...... in Chicago, IL. The first package I sent was a card that was serial numbered 2 out of 25. It was my irresponsible mistake to not put any delivery confirmation, insurance, or tracking whatsoever...my fault. Of course this buyer files a "item never received" dispute with paypal. And on eBay his account is "no longer registered". That kind of threw me off for a bit.

So, after cutting my losses short, I had another card of the same dual autograph/players/brand/year and was serialed 16 of 25, rushed it to the post office and put tracking and delivery confirmation on it. I was already OUT $150 on that "lost" package. Of course... this buyer changes the dispute to "item not as described" and demands a full refund. He is claiming that I sent a 10 cent card... which I have all the reason to believe he "planted" the card in after opening the package and removing the REAL card. Now, as of this moment, I am OUT $300 on TWO cards, and this thief probably has the 1st package and even the 2nd card. He wants these cards for free?!

After emailing him back and forth, due to my disability of being hard of hearing, and on a relay call with him for a nasty 2 minutes with him, i knew for a fact he was trying to pull a quick one. I may be deaf, but I AM NOT DUMB. There was no chance in hell I was going to let him get away with this He even told me that he was a law enforcement officer, that I messed with the wrong people, he opened the package in front of an inspector...etc...blah blah.

Of course I can respect if he was a police officer, but that doesn't mean I have to take HIS word. He even told me he had a video of him opening the package. So of course, I told him, if you can provide me that video of the opening the package in its original condition, I will refund your money right away and call this my mistake in sending the wrong card. But i knew i did not send the wrong card. Here's the video link:******. I hope you enjoy the video because that is my evidence that he opened the package already and was attempting to extort me out of money by that video. You can see how the envelope was already opened, but if any of you disagree with me, I'll respect that.

I sent that link to Paypal and eBay, in hopes of them finally seeing evidence that he was committing fraud himself. I agree with the title he put on youtube "Mail Fraud", since he did commit it right there in front of our eyes! He's got pretty good sleight of hand...no?

For those of you, watch out for this eBayer: *******. He's no longer registered... but he can be posing under another name.

He's also very vulgar in his threats over email... calling me a deaf handicapped f***er. All of the conversations have been recorded and sent to his local police, PayPal, and eBay.

My question is, how can I prevent other buyers pulling this kind of scam on me if I sell other baseball cards? I thought about videotaping my packaging and sealing of the card in the bubble mailer, but the buyer can make up anything they wish, to get a free card. Also this Mark Pierce told me he had alot of friends that would buy my auctions and make my selling experience a big headache. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!

Mike

Last edited by SaiJin; 09-11-2010 at 04:35 PM. Reason: For your own protection, pls don't post private info of yourself or others.
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Old 09-12-2010
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Insure ever item, put a tamper seal/ tape on the package. So if they do open the package then you should be good theoretically.

Take pictures of how you package the item. Seal the card inside a tamper proof envelope or something like that. Those uline mailers are pretty good. They are a pain to open.
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Old 09-12-2010
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Unfortunately, eBay/PayPal almost ALWAYS sides with the buyer in disputes. Some scammers know this and take advantage of it. There is no way to prevent it 100%. But there are some things you can do to lessen the risk.

I'm no expert on baseball cards, but I imagine that a mint condition card is worth more than one in good condition. And a genuine signature would add significantly to the value of the card as well. I know that for coins, there is a grading service that puts the coin into a plastic holder and registers it. You might want to consider a similar service for baseball cards.

I ship EVERYTHING with a tracking number and I always insure anything over $100. If the item is more than $250, make sure to get signature confirmation upon delivery. That way you are protected under the Seller Protection program.

Of course, that only eliminates the "not received" aspect of the scam. The "not as described" is more problematic. YOU claim the item sent had an original signature and was in mint condition. The SCAMMER claims the card was in poor condition, and had NO signature or a forged signature, making the card pretty much worthless. The card grading, if it exists, can help with that.

But nothing is 100%. I don't think videotaping packing is the answer. The scammer will say that you taped yourself packing the real card, but after the camera was turned off, you replaced it with a bogus card.

Fortunately, most buyers are honest, but the few bad apples can really hurt you. Hopefully, eBay/PayPal will side with you. They DO, on occasion, side with the seller. Not a guarantee, but the fact that he is no longer registered is a good sign.

Most of what I sell are low value items. I would be afraid to sell a high-value item on eBay. I have seen websites that advise people interested in designer goods to buy from a seller on eBay, claim it is counterfeit and send back a ⊗⊗⊗⊗ one from Ioffer, thus getting a genuine LV handbag worth $1,000 for $50. Of course, the seller will lose their account, but the scammers don't care. It has happened to people on this forum.

The worst thing that eBay ever did to sellers was to take away the ability to leave a buyer negative feedback. That is one of the big reasons that they are now able to get away with this type of scam.

The bottom line is this: take whatever steps you reasonably can to lessen the risks, but realize that nothing is 100%. Never sell anything on eBay if you cannot afford to take the hit financially.

Last edited by jeffweico; 09-12-2010 at 10:36 AM.
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Thanks for the replies, this is a great and knowledgeable forum. My brother had given me a valuable TIP on how to protect myself from the "not as described" aspect. He told me not to seal the envelope/packaging in which the card is sent in, and when I take that card to the post office - I should request a postal inspector to see the card and packing slip, and verify by writing, that the card was the right one as said on packing slip. Hope this helps those of you that have my problem!

These cards are certified autograph cards, which are almost impossible to counterfeit, so I should not have a problem with "signatures being forged".

But thank you for all the tips and ideas, I agree - Paypal and eBay have become immersed evilly in their greedy scheme of protecting the buyers, just for their own good. Fortunately there are some sellers, like me who will FIGHT to the end to break down on these so-called scammers.
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I enquired about this at my post depot, when I recently sold a very high priced item, it had insurance and mypoupette/vero clearance, but I could not protect against the buyer returning a brick....

the post staff, do not want to get involved in verifying contents of packages,

I mean they will say its a baseball card or bag if you want them to in writing, but they are VERY reluctant to, anyway they will not and cannot say if it is a genuine or give details as to its genuine status - how can they, so there is always a way to get round it from buyer point of view. My courier picked up the item I sold, and I took a picture of it with mailman before box was sealed, mailman seemed bemused and told me not to tell his girlfriend..
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I can agree with you OompaLoompa - i guess it depends on the post office, whether they are willing or not. I have become friendly with the postal workers, as I live in a very small town, and see them almost every week. They sympathized with me when I actually brought in my iPad to show them the video this guy posted on youtube about mail fraud, and they were appalled. You can find this video typing in "Mail Fraud msu3131" on youtube.

I will update you on my attempt next time I go to the post office, which will be tomorrow when I ship out two high valued baseball cards. Thanks for the comment.
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There is one other thing about eBay/PayPal. When you end up selling to a buyer who plans to scam you, it makes little difference if the item is genuine or not. All the buyer has to do is claim it is a ⊗⊗⊗⊗. eBay/PayPal will then refund their money and not even require the buyer return it. The user agreement states that in cases where the buyer receives counterfeit merchandise, all they require is a statement from the buyer that they "destroyed" the item.

They almost ALWAYS side with the buyer. The exception might be if you were a long-time eBay seller with a history of selling such items and are known for your integrity. Then eBay MAY side with you. Another exception would be if the buyer has a history of constantly claiming PHAKE! PHAKE! But in cases where it boils down to the buyers word versus the sellers word, they always give the buyer the benefit of the doubt.
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